On 4 May 2021, the Thirteenth and last Session of the International Online Internship Program, “Contemporary Dynamics of Indonesia” was held. The internship program was jointly organized by the Embassy of Indonesia to Pakistan and the Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS), Islamabad.
The theme of the Thirteenth session was ‘Interfaith Diplomacy: Moderation in Islam (Wasatiyyah)” and the speaker for this session was Prof. Dr. Azyumardi Azra, MA CBE, Director of Post Graduate, State Islamic University, Syarif Hidayatullah Indonesia.
Prof. Dr. Azyumardi Azra briefly mentioned that Indonesia is based on the Pancasila principles. He elaborated the concept of Indonesian Wasatiyyah that it is the middle way or the middle column of Islam, preached by the Sufis. It was the peaceful transition of Indonesia after 1998 that made the country a third largest democracy in the world.
Prof. Azyumardi stated that Indonesian population in Muslim majority. This proves that Islam and Democracy are compatible. He stated that with the rise of the Indonesian Association of Muslim Intellectuals (ICMI) with B.J. Habibie, the country gradually witnessed closer to the wider Islamic world. Therefore, the Wasatiyyah Islam is enriched with the ideas Pesantren (Indonesian religious institution), Madrassah, Islamic higher education, and Sekolah Islam.
Mr. Azra explained that to have successful inter-intra faith dialogues, an inclusive Indonesian Islam was adopted as a crucial factor by the Indonesia Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), and Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA). Therefore, the dialogues of harmony were carried out both on national and international levels across five continents.
Furthermore, Dr. Azyumardi explained that many foreign countries admire the concept of Indonesian Moderate Islam. This has proved beneficial for the country to support the cause of Muslims in Palestine, Rohingya and Bosnia.
Dr. Azyumardi also shared his analysis that in the post-9/11 times, the world has witnessed more colours of the Indonesian Moderate Islamic concepts. The modern and inclusive Indonesian Wasatiyyah Islam has been playing its crucial part to portray better image of the religion. Therefore, the efforts of Indonesian MoFA in bringing Muslim scholars and sponsoring the moderate ideas on international conferences is worth praising.
The session was moderated by Ms. Sarah Salahuddin, Research Intern, Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS), Islamabad. Masters and Ph.D. level Students from all across Pakistan were the part of this Online International Internship Program. This program has equipped them with the knowledge of the contemporary dynamics of Indonesia and its various sectors.